The Drake Equation: Estimating the Prevalence of Extraterrestrial Life through the Ages

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Douglas A. Vakoch, Matthew F. Dowd
Cambridge University Press, 2 jul. 2015
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In this compelling book, leading scientists and historians explore the Drake Equation, which guides modern astrobiology's search for life beyond Earth. First used in 1961 as the organising framework for a conference in Green Bank, West Virginia, it uses seven factors to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilisations in our galaxy. Using the equation primarily as a heuristic device, this engaging text examines the astronomical, biological, and cultural factors that determine the abundance or rarity of life beyond Earth and provides a thematic history of the search for extraterrestrial life. Logically structured to analyse each of the factors in turn, and offering commentary and critique of the equation as a whole, contemporary astrobiological research is placed in a historical context. Each factor is explored over two chapters, discussing the pre-conference thinking and a modern analysis, to enable postgraduates and researchers to better assess the assumptions that guide their research.
 

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Inhoudsopgave

The Drake Equation in context
1
Rate of formation of stars suitable for the development
21
Fraction of stars with planetary systems fp pre1961
53
Fraction of stars with planetary systems fp 1961 to the present
71
Number of planets per solar system with an environment suitable
90
Fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears fl pre1961
131
the present
145
Fraction of lifebearing planets on which intelligent life emerges
163
Fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases
205
Length of time such civilizations release detectable signals
241
Afterword
298
Index
312
Copyright

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Over de auteur (2015)

Douglas A. Vakoch is Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He also serves as chair of the International Academy of Astronautics Study Group on Interstellar Message Construction, and has edited numerous books in the field of astrobiology and space exploration.

Matthew F. Dowd is an editor at the University of Notre Dame Press and teaches periodically on the Program of Liberal Studies. He has been instrumental in organizing Notre Dame's biennial History of Astronomy conferences and in 2011 received the Adler-Mansfield Prize for contributions to the history of astronomy.

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